Date: 3 Apr 1903
Place: Cwmavon, Wales
John Evans's body was found under mysterious circumstances at Cwmavon.
He had been an ex-guardsman and was at the time employed as a shearer in the steelworks.
His wife said that he left home on the Saturday night for Tondu with about 13s in his pocket and that when he didn't return home that night that she made enquiries on the Sunday and heard that he had been found dead in a pond.
The landlady of the Foresters' Arms in Pantdu said that John Evans came to her house between 6pm and 7pm on the Saturday evening to pay his money into a club that was held there. She said that he didn't stay long and left about 7.15pm and that all he had to drink was a bottle of stout and a glass of beer. She said that he later returned just after 10.30pm and then called for two bottles of stout.
She said that he had no quarrel and that he and a friend left the house at about 10.55pm. She said that they had both had a drop but that they had both been able to walk home properly, stating that John Evans had been quite sensible when he had gone out and had wished her 'Goodnight'.
John Evans's friend, a man from Bryn, said that they had left the Foresters at about 10.55pm and had parted by the Tinworks Lodge at about 11.15pm, John Evans then heading off along the road to the right whilst he went off along the road to the left. He said that his route took him past the pond but that John Evans's route took him up the hill and away from the pond. He noted that he had asked John Evans if he wanted to accompany him home but said that John Evans had refused.
He noted that John Evans had been under the influence of drink. He said that John Evans had fallen at a shop in Pantdu but that he didn't cut his face in doing so.
He said that he heard on the Sunday that a bottle of beer had been found on the road and said that a man in the works gave him a bottle of beer which he said he had found on the road. He said that the bottle had been half full and that he had drunk it.
He said that on the night he last saw John Evans that he saw nobody after leaving John Evans or any conveyance.
The man at the works, who had lived in Pelly Street, Cwmavon, said that he had found some pint bottles of beer, adding that he saw no sign of a struggle on the road.
After the police gave evidence of the finding of John Evans's body a representative of John Evans's widow asked that the inquest be adjourned so that their doctor could carry out a post mortem on John Evans's body.
He said that John Evans's widow and her relatives were very anxious that their doctor should have been present at the post mortem on the Monday. He said that their doctor had gone to the room where the post mortem was carried out but that the other doctor sharply asked a police constable to ask him to leave. He said that the family doctor left but came to him and consulted him and that he then went to see the other doctor and persuaded him to allow the family doctor to attend. He said that the family doctor had then wired the Coroner and that on receiving his reply had gone to the house where the post mortem was to be carried out but found that it had already been conducted.
However, the Coroner told him that he could not have the time of the jury taken up by squabbles between doctors. However, the representative said that he was making the application on behalf of John Evans's widow and children who wanted to know how John Evans had come to die.
However, the Coroner said that he would go on with the inquiry.
The doctor that had carried out the post mortem then gave his evidence, saying that he made a superficial examination of John Evans's body and found that his face was covered with blood and mud and that there had been a wound under his right eye which was a clean cut, two inches in length and horseshoe in shape. He said that both lungs were much distended, almost overlapping the heart, and pressing close to the ribs.
He said that his stomach contained water of a dark muddy colour and that all his other organs had been healthy and normal.
He gave John Evans's cause of death as asphyxia due to drowning.
He said that the cut to his face had been caused by some sharp instrument, probably a glass, but that it had not been the cause of death.
The Coroner then directed the jury to return an open verdict.
see Star of Gwent - Friday 03 April 1903